The Wellington region is known for its contrasting landscapes - deep valleys give way to towering hills, and the ocean surrounds the city on nearly every side. Our beaches are gorgeous places, wild and churning or sun-swept and luxurious, depending on the day. When you get a sunny weekend off, consider gathering your beach towel and sunblock, family and friends for a visit to one of these irreplaceable beaches found throughout the Wellington region.
#1 - Lyall Bay
This wild and beautiful beach is a hotspot for surfers, dog-walkers and family outings. The surf is perfect for all to play in on a sunny day, or you can relax on the sand and watch the planes arriving into Wellington International airport. Get an ice cream and take a walk around the bay, or stop off for a bite to eat at the renowned Maranui cafe and restaurant. Lyall bay is just a short drive from the CBD, and offers fantastic eating and drinking including The Botanist and Parrot Dog Brewery.
#2 - Days Bay
On the far side of Wellington harbour from the CBD lies Days Bay, an idyllic location for beach goers to spend all day in the summer. The beach offers white sand and relaxation, along with several bars and eateries. Jump off the Days Bay Wharf into the cool blue water, swim out to the pontoon or wade in the clear shallows. The Dominion Post Ferry runs regular services to Days Bay beach from Wellington City and Petone, via Somes Island - an ideal way to spend a sunny Saturday.
#3 - Oriental Bay
We’ve talked about Oriental Bay several times on the blog before, and for good reason! This is a beautiful place to go for the beach-faring city-dweller, a ten minute walk from the CBD on foot and less if you drive. Oriental Bay features a playground for the kids, a pontoon or two to swim to, and a fountain in the middle of the bay to set it all off. If you’re lucky enough to live nearby you can see the fountain lit up by night, along with the massive Norfolk Pines lining the esplanade.
#4 - Makara Beach
Makara Beach is about a half-hour drive from the City, but it’s worth the wait. Beautiful stony beaches give way to some of Wellington’s best surfing waves, and the gorgeous coastal walk will take you all the way up to the gun emplacements that were built during World War II. Back then, huge sand dunes that lined Makara Beach were bulldozed in preparation for a Japanese invasion, wiping out the diverse and rare ecosystems in the area. Now, local community groups are working to restore the beach to its beautiful, original state - making it a wonderfully history-rich place to experience.
Wellington’s beaches are magical places to visit, rain or shine. The locations we’ve touched on here are but a few of the many scenic coastal destinations our region has to offer, and you’d be hard pressed to visit all of them. Going to the beach is a proud Wellingtonian tradition, and we hope you enjoy the capital’s coastlands as much as we do.